BOCC… ahem… Merion CC 192-3 (30) beat AVCC 104-7 (30) by 88 runs - May 8th 2021
Yes, it is bad enough you go to BOCC and get a bit of a stuffing and then after a fairly sound beating at Philly CC as well, you look forward to a more “friendly” game at Merion only to find you’re… PLAYING BOCC AGAIN..!! So it seems Merion were short (go figure) and basically all of BOCC’s key “friendly” players hadn’t signed up for one reason or another and the call went out and they all got drafted in. I am not exactly sure how many of them were there, but certainly the top four all contributed heavily and then they had plenty of bowling to win the game handsomely.
And all of this when for most of the week and indeed, the morning of, we really didn’t expect to play at all. Much discussion was had on the morning of the game as to whether travel was worth it with a terrible forecast, but with it looking like the rain would not come til later, in the cars we got and the long drives were done and we were super fortunate to play a full uninterrupted game. We were rewarded considering most came from deepest New Jersey, Atif from the NY Land of Far Far Away and Neil actually came direct from Seattle! Oh and Andy…. he came from…..well…just round the corner. And to top it all, one didn’t come at all and we were loaned a player, who just so happened to be Kenny from…. BOCC..!!
As to the game, well there is really not much to write about that makes for easy reading. Poor Atif struggled with the surface this week and, having bowled so well last week, was harshly treated by openers Shariq and Sunil. Anything short was dispatched and their running between the wickets showed up our terrible general lack of mobility in the field. It is fair to say, we are not a young side. Mark bowled very tidily unlucky to not get a catch behind, but going for only 12 off his 4 overs and Roger and Andy stuck at it but both went for 6 an over. Andy did pick up two wickets, cleaning up Sunil and having Krish caught behind by Armitage standing up, just as he was out to Tony in the ‘real’ BOCC game, but then John Kennon came out to bat and again retired just as he did two weeks ago, looking completely untroubled by our attack and finding the boundary at will. Shariq also retired and Shyam and Gurdish finished the rout to take them to a massive 192-3. After last week’s poor showing, we had managed just 5 wickets in two games. Oh to get back to Amwell and bowl on a wicket that offers something different to these artificial surfaces. Tony bowled pretty nicely after some garbage that he served up on his first two overs. Reverting back to his “Tommy Trundlers” he bowled a lot better, finding genuine away swing and actual line and length. And frankly the pick of the bunch you could say, was Kenny himself. Just 78 years young, he really put the rest to shame, pitching it up and bowling straight, getting a wicket to a great catch from Mark at cover and ending with 1-19 off his 4.
In reply, it really was just a procession of wickets and an inability to find the boundary. Where they found it so easy, we managed just one boundary in our whole innings. Alan played very nicely until he sadly pulled up lame on 14 and it was that bad, that there was no point in having a runner as he could not even stand, let alone run. Everyone else came and went for single figure scores except for Armitage who, coming in at 39-4, batted through to the close finishing unbeaten on 35. Who kept him company the most..? Yep, that would be Kenny who batted the last 8 overs with him for 6 not out. Suffice to say, we came second!
In typical BOCC fashion, I think I counted 3 guys who didn’t get a bat or a bowl and whilst Tahir is a really top bloke, he did not toss anything up to me or anyone else for that matter, John Kennon bowling out the last overs of the innings. Not sure what it is with these posh Philly teams (Germantown are no different), but when they have people making u the numbers they literally…..make up the numbers! Kenny was quoted as saying that he was really happy he got drafted as he got a much better game than he would have done. In fairness, most Amwell players do, such the rarity of not being bowled out!
- Just two that I can remember, first when Tony switched himself with Kishlay only to immediately missfield. I am really not sure who was the least mobile of the two!
- And the other was poor Alan, bad enough he had to be carried off the field, but to assist him getting into his car, Merion kindly supplied a wheelchair for him and wheeled him over to the car park. Watching him with his bag sitting on his lap, Andy rightly pointed out that it was rather like a Little Britain sketch (for those Brits that may have seen the show)…
Ho hum, it will be better once we start playing at Amwell…… right..?
BOCC 277-8 (35 overs) beat Amwell Valley CC 197-12 (34.4 overs) by 80 runs. - Sat April 24, 2021
Really in the context of things, a defeat by 80 runs wasn’t so bad, but alas, I cannot deny, it was much more of a thumping than the score suggests. Yes, we rocked up at our good friends’ house at BOCC and enjoyed another great day there, the weather perfect in their innings, but somewhat chilly for ours. Sadly the performance was not anywhere like the effort we put in last week at Germantown and I think it fair to say we missed key figures like Mark, Andy and Manish. That said, we were not that weak and, with Glenn, Uday and Pan back; Anantha bringing his friend Prasad and debutant Atif Baig who certainly looked like he had the credentials on paper, we were disappointed to not be able to blunt their onslaught and equally, not be able to bat as freely as they did ourselves.
With Tony sportingly putting them in, they all batted so confidently on their true track. Six of the top seven all got past 20 and all at quicker than a run a ball, including John Keenan, their Aussie import, who really made hay, retiring on 51 off less than 30 balls. None of the bowlers managed to find enough consistency and without sharing the intimate details, every single bowler went for more than six an over. Add in the horrific wide count, it was not a fun afternoon in the field. Yes, in comparison to the paltry 7 we conceded last week, we gave up 52 today, yes FIFTY TWO..! Add on the 6 no balls which were as good as wides, it did not make pretty reading. Atif, who certainly looks the part, strong, athletic, lively in the field and bowls quite a decent pace, sadly could not find his radar. He took two fine wickets, but it was either a magic ball, or so wide, that poor Nigel scrambling around behind the stumps couldn’t stop four of them going to the boundary. In all he took 2-47 in his five overs, 30 of them contributed from wides. Take out the wides and 2-17 is a pretty impressive debut.
As for the other bowlers, Prasad also had a good debut and looks a fine player and Uday did okay until his knee hampered his range, but all in all, my pick of the bowlers was Tony who stuck at it and got two of the better bats, Dil and Krish, both caught behind by Armitage standing up (two of his three on the day).
In reply, chasing that daunting score, we were never in it, especially as young Kunal and (older) Keenan bowled much more probing spells than any of our guys did. Alan and Kimbo (17) did okay and tried their best, but when Alan finally holed out for workmanlike 23, we were 40-1 off 10 and miles off the pace. After that, the bowling was certainly more friendly and several of us got in, but no one got past 30. Pan and Glenn (22 and 21) had a nice partnership and Prasad had nice partnerships with Anantha (16) and Armitage (14) toward the end, Prasad eventually top-scoring with 26, but in-between, poor Parag was run out for a second duck in a row, Tariq also failed to trouble the scorers and sadly Atif rounded off a disappointing debut playing all round his second ball. All that said, I thought it was a brave display with the bat and they too helped us with extras as they served up 43 of their own, which included an extra five due to a poorly placed helmet behind the keeper. Standing as umpire at square leg, I was asked to hold it so that it wouldn’t get hit again. I declined.
Yes, lots of laughs and lots of fun and who cares that we got stuffed. On to Philly next week and we can put that Marsan fella to the sword.
Columbia CC 60-11 All Out (23.1) lost to AVCC 63-1 (17.1) by 9 wickets - 6-6-21.
Yes that score line does read true. Not only did we bowl them out for 60, but had to take 11 wickets to do it as we both played 12. And then not only did we bowl them out that cheaply, we knocked them off as easily as the title suggests. It really was quite the performance. We bowled well, we batted well and if I’m honest, Columbia were not especially strong, but they say catches win matches and that was the true game changer for us yesterday. Atif, Andy and Glenn all took remarkable catches and completely broke the back of Columbia’s top order and from there it was a procession.
Having lost the toss, I couldn’t really blame them for batting, it was a swelteringly hot day, but I must say, it would have been a better game for all had we batted first. With Mark, Andy, Manish and the returning Kishore in the ranks, along with really our first choice side (that is to say, no Tony or Alan, haha), we were well armed to take any team on. Indeed the captain was quoted at the start as saying this is the strongest Amwell side he has led and that if we bowled them out for 50, let’s do just that! Well I was only 10 runs out.
It all began as bit of a whirlwind, Uday pitching his second ball just a bit too full and their skipper Amaresh, who had played for us at SI and looked more than handy with the bat, clipped the ball straight to Atif at square leg, who took a terrific catch inches off the ground. Uday (2-12 off 4) continued to probe with a length on off stump which the wicket definitely gave some assistance and after Vivek smashed one up in the air that Mark couldn’t get a hand on, in Uday’s next over, he promptly swished at another and edged to the safe hands of Andy Dick at slip. At the other end, poor Kishore could not find the right length, so the skipper looking to stay with the Uday-style of medium dobblers on line and length, turned to Roger Woods to replace Kishore. Sure enough just as the skipper hoped….oh wait…. no Roger dragged down a wide garbage delivery only for Teja, who had scored 21 in just 14 balls, to mis-time a upward drive for Atif to take an even more stunning catch diving to his right at extra cover. From then Roger could not stop taking wickets. In between many good balls, his bad ones took the spoils. A double bouncer accounted for Navam swishing across the line; a wide short one was spooned up to Mark at point and a wide half volley, was edged to Glenn at gully who clung on centimeters from the ground. As fortunate as some of those wickets were, it was real reward for an excellent spell, after all Tony will tell you, that is how to get wickets!
Alas, Roger bowled out his spell (4-12) but was unable to get his fifth with a spill by Mark and a tough LBW turned down, it just was not to be. But the wickets kept falling at the other end, Atif bowled a delightful spell (2-10 off 4), cleaning up Azlan and getting Kumar who edged to Andy who took yet another spectacular catch at first slip, low and to his right. Andy than joined the bowling party taking two wickets for 4 off 4 overs and Mark finally got his chance to join in and snagged the 11th wicket in his third over. It really was the complete fielding performance and in no way was their score any indication of the first pitch of the season, which all in all, played as well as you could have hoped.
In reply, it was all over as quickly as you could have imagined. After Pan looked a little unlucky to get triggered by Tariq, Manish soothed any nerves latching on to a few bad balls and scoring 24 off 34 balls with 3 fours and a six. All the while Anantha, who has looked in really good touch, batted extremely well, playing good shots at the right times, including a mighty six on to the roof of the tent. He finished unbeaten at the end on 23 with Mark finishing the game with a flourish with a six over square after Manish retired. The words comprehensive victory does not really do it justice.
- Well poor Mark had a difficult day, he was a smidge put out at not getting on to bowl early, misjudged that early skier off Uday and then in Roger’s 4th over looking for his 5th wicket, Nihad skied one out to Mark at point who had just taken an almost identical catch there the over before, only for him to catch it…. drop it, catch the rebound…..only to drop that too….go for a third and then a 4th try, only to finally see the ball hit the floor with him in a heap next to it. With wickets tumbling all around, it was rather amusing to all, except for poor Roger who equally collapsed in a heap with his head in his hands and did not end up with his five-fer.
- When Roger went out to field, he didn’t do the most tidy job of putting that white sunscreen stuff on his lips. Andy commented that it looked like he had just snogged a clown.
- Thanks For Coming – To Tariq Ajaz, poor Tariq, obviously missed out on getting a bat, didn’t bowl and the only time I remember him fielding the ball was a couple he had to chase down to the midwicket boundary off Kishore’s bowling. Equally, then after the game, he had a work call to go to, so left right away, missed the beer match and of course the BBQ. But he brought food for the Barby and drinks and then of course brought the infamous ladder and did a sterling job on the sightscreens. Thank you indeed for coming my friend.
- And finally my losing the toss – When tossing the coin up in the air, my opposition captian said a word that was rather incomprehensible to me (in fairness it sounded more like heads than tails), as it came down heads, he said yes, we will have a bat. In that scorching heat, I think I got hoodwinked….. right..?
So quite the win and I broke my rather lengthy losing streak as captain and then sat back and rested while several of the guys went out and played a 10-over beer match. No report necessary on that, as we lost by 2 runs, but I think all enjoyed it and we retired to the relatively cool of the tent for some fine chicken and veggie burgers courtesy of Uday. Huge thanks to Uday as always.
Huge thanks also to all that turned up early. Alan did a wonderful job of setting things up and passing words of wisdom to Kishore, Roger and Pan. Kishore needs some work at steering the roller, but it was useful so many turning up early on the first game of the season. Getting all the pegs for the tent in was possibly the hardest job of the day and much kudos goes to Andy, Mark and Roger who worked so hard on that and finally, thanks to Tariq for bringing the infamous ladder to fix the sightscreen. By the start, everything was done and dusted and Amwell Valley CC is back up and running and ready for a full and rewarding season.
Til next week, Nige.
GCC vs Amwell on Sunday 18 April 2021
So the 2021 cricket season got underway last weekend and how pleasant it was. The weather was just about perfect (as long as you had maybe one extra layer for when the sun occasionally went in); the opposition was a more than genial host and actually had their regular side without all their usual customary ringers; everybody was cautiously comfortable socializing with most advising of at least partial vaccination (some masks were worn, but some hugs were had) and a most fair and competitive game was had with Amwell Valley just edging the spoils.
With our beloved President back at the helm, he quickly won his first toss and in the knowledge of a lack of league superstars in the oppo ranks, quickly chose to bat first in a 30 over game. Seemed like a great move as Alan George and Andy Dick (I feel like that should be the title of a new Carry-On film, in fact… maybe it already is..?), after a cautious start against some tidy opening bowling, got us off to a fine 30 partnership in the 6-over “power-play”. Alan got the most frustrating of dismissals when he was strangled down legside and then Manish and Parag quickly followed, neither troubling the scorers. 34-3 and not such the best start. Enter Mark Marsan to the fray and boy, did he play a match-turning / match-winning innings. Scoring just 3 off his first 12 balls to stem the tide, he unleashed the fury as he found his comfort. A truly splendid innings, with drives and pulls all round the ground and he eventually retired on 51 having hit 8 fours in his 43-ball stay with 36 coming off his last 20 balls.
After that, it was about how many we could get to improve on his efforts. Manish did his best to stem the tide by raising his finger three times much to Dick’s, Armitage’s and especially Mr. Thandi’s (who has succumbed to Manish’s umpiring skills too many times), chagrin, but Andy will be pleased with his first outing of 27 off 40; Armitage ecstatic about his 22 at a run-a-ball (more runs than he scored in the entirety of last season) and then Raj’s son, Aria Muniappa who is now all grown up and clearly a very fine cricketer saw us through with an unbeaten 26 off 35 balls. With 34 wides served up to us, 188 was an imposing score.
But maybe not so based on the opening “power-play” of theirs. After a fine lunch, Praveen wasted no time is depositing 4s and 6s to all parts. Mark battled hard to stem the tide getting Santosh caught smartly at cover by Manish, but Shiva kept Praveen company for a fine partnership to take them to 77-1 by the 13th over. Shiva certainly rode his luck. Anantha and especially Armitage behind the stumps were aghast when a caught behind was not given when the whole ground heard the nick and then he proceeded to get the benefit of numerous decisions go his way, whether it be run out or LBW (where was Manish when you need him..?!). Eventually Tony brought Andy Dick into the mix and his steady offies were too tidy for both guys as he had Praveen caught by the buckets of Tariq at midwicket and cleaned up Shiva to finally end his mish-mash of an innings. From there, the run-rate was always too much for them, Kiran and Eric Sultan certainly battled on bravely, but they fell to fine catches, Alan out at deep mid-wicket and Parag at short thirdman and GCC eventually fell 23 runs short.
Looking back, it was a fine bowling display. Mark took 2-33 off his 6; Tony 1-20 off 4; Anantha very unlucky 0-22 off 3; Manish very steady with 1-27 off his 6; Andy the star with the ball 3-19 off 5 and then Tariq (0-17 off 3) and Aria (1-23 off 3) brought us home.
As well as Mark and Andy played, Germantown put on a fine display and frankly, matched us in every way… every way… except for bowling wides which ended up actually being the difference between the sides. After they served up 34, our discipline was to be applauded bowling just 7 of our own.
It really was a great day, beers being served after the game and the weather pleasant enough to mill around on the boundary edge with friends. After our late start last year, man oh man, it was good to be playing cricket in the Springtime.
Til next week.
Amwell Valley CC 168-8 (35) lost to Philadelphia CC 169-2 (27.4) by 8 wickets. - 1st May, 2021
So, when you get a text from one of your best players saying that he hears the oppo are really short and that he feels it is the right thing to go and play for his original club, you think to yourself that is fair enough and even with Andy Dick playing against you, you fancy we will be strong enough to win, especially as he tells you that Mark Marsan was not playing. You even scrabble around to see if you can get them another player if they are that short. Skipper Thandi then drops out as does another, but thankfully we had Glenn waiting in the wings, clearly very keen to play but not wanting to take a full members’ spot. In he comes and we end up the bare XI with Armitage at the helm. THEN….. you turn up and not only are they not short (in fact they had 14..!!), but Mark Marsan IS playing. All in all, you are not happy……… right..?
So anyway, having scoped the oppo, it seemed Philly had the usual faces and you felt Andy and Mark would need to have a good game for them to win. They did…. and… they did..! Armitage won the toss and shrewdly decided to bat with two of his top five still not at the ground. Manish sadly perished in the first over to one that kept low, but then Armitage joined Kimberly and they got off to a bit of a flyer, largely due to some crisp shots from Kimbo who scored 19 off 13 hitting three fine 4s. Alas, he too got a kind LBW decision from an Amwell umpire, especially as the stumps had been put in so poorly they were barely the equivalent of two stumps wide. After that Armitage lost partners regularly, Pan especially unlucky to one that rolled on to the stumps and barely knocked off a bail; Glenn getting the finest of nicks and Atif beaten by one that turned sharply.
At 68-5, Armitage was joined by George and they soldiered through tough middle overs. Marsan, Dick and Qam all bowled extremely well, Dick especially difficult to get away ending up bowling 7 overs for 11 with no over going for more than two singles. Armitage fell to yet another LBW for a hard fought 36 off 68 balls and Alan saw us through to the close with 34 not out off 53 balls. But it was Hop-a-Long Kishlay that got us to a respectable total with some fine hitting. It really was painful to watch him out there. Most of you will remember the terrible injury he had at the back end of last season and after multiple surgeries, it is clear he is a long way from full fitness. He can walk fine, but could not run in any way and Philly CC were super kind to allow him to have a runner. That made all the difference, as whilst he couldn’t run, he could bat and bat well he did, scoring 40 in just 46 balls with three 4s. Without the runner I believe he would have barely got 25 and indeed, Alan would have got fewer too. When Kishlay finally succumbed, it was a delight to see Parag score a couple of runs to get him off the mark for the season and 168-8 was not too bad, but barely par.
And so it was, as PCC ran out easy winners. It was slightly in the balance up to the drinks break, especially after Atif bowled a terrific opening spell of 5 overs for 14 and Tariq bowled nicely snapping up a becalmed Andy Dick for just 5 runs off 27 balls with a very smart catch by Kishlay who, fortunately, didn’t have to move…. because….. he couldn’t! But once Marsan found his straps, it was difficult to stop the runs. It is also fair to say we didn’t get the same generosity of our umpiring from them, as a few decisions did not go our way, particularly an amazing direct hit run out from the far boundary by Glenn. Add in a couple of dropped chances, one pretty straight forward and a game that could have been close, was not. I fancy if everything had gone our way, we would still have lost, as after Mark and Qam retired, Patterson and Suchit got them home without breaking sweat. I felt for Anantha, he didn’t get a bat, ran for Kishlay for an hour and bowled pretty well only for Mark to strong-arm him away for several boundaries. He deserved better, as did the rest of us who all put in a terrific shift against a tough opposition.
It was a great day and the weather was superb and PCC are top guys and brilliant to play against, but it was a tough pill to swallow to lose that game. Had Andy played for us, we would surely have won and indeed, it was notable that only three of their bowlers bowled their full allocation and those three batted 1, 2 and 3. Our bowlers batted at 1, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11. Just sayin’, I know which club I would rather play for.
Next week we trek back to the area for a la-di-da game at Merion. Andy is not allowed to play for them!
Staten Island CC (lost, 128 all out) v AVCC (212 from 35 overs) - Sunday 5/23/21
Well Sunday started out hot – in the immortal words of Matthew Broderick (Eugene Jerome) in Biloxi Blues from 1988 ‘Man it's hot. It's like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn't take this kind of hot.’ But we played regardless.
Staten island had to wait 20 minutes or so to get the mat on the pitch straighten out but after some pulling and banging of nails, they got it relatively flat and suitable for some cricket. So, we started late.
Our trusted captain (Tony) lost the toss and we were instructed to field, in the heat, for the afternoon - only however for the real captain for Staten Island named Glen to show up late and reverse the decision and let us have a bat – oh how we love that man. The openers (Pan and guest, Amaresh) put on a few runs before Amaresh (7) got caught on the boundary with a pretty good catch from one of the younger Staten Island players – and then I got bowled with an indecisive forward defense (13). Following this however Manish welded his bat with real aplomb against some good slightly quicker bowling and got quickly to 50 (retired) with 2 sixes and 3 fours – great effort indeed in the heat.
Navam (guest) scored a quick 19 and Kishore (3) got bowled and did not hang around too long. Then Glen (8) got unlucky with an inside edge flashing only to then see a real renaissance innings from Atif, with some great straight drives and cautious defense played brilliantly to get to 48 with a six in there somewhere also. Kishlay gamely added 5 and Anantha added 17 towards the end with a six also. Nipon and Tony barely troubled the scorer and AVCC posted a respectable 212 under some very warm conditions and minimal breaks.
Staten Island then began to soften us up even before their innings had even started – they served up some wonderful biryani in large individual portions, which nearly every AVCC player (ignoring the team’s highly paid professional nutritionist) finished up completely, every crumb – in fact Atif I believe had 2 lots and could barely move…
We then hit the field – slowly. Kishore shaking of the biryani stupor bowled extremely well and beat the bat a number of times – he was ably supported by Atif who bowled fairly tightly also – after 8 overs Staten Island were 48 for no wickets and looked pretty good.
Then Kishore bowled Kodi out with a real beauty and ended up with 27 for 1. Alex their opener (30) and Charu (13) moved them on before 2 great catches from AVCC from Navam's bowling – Kishlay (moving and I use that term loosely of course, but nonetheless quickly enough) took a great hard catch in the covers (as now is normally expected) and Anantha took a great running catch at deepish long on to get rid of their young opener – they were 52 for 3 after 10 overs. Tony came on to bowl and eked out 2 wickets (one LBW and one batsman caught) ending with 32 for 2 from 7 and Navam bowled really tightly with 2 for 13 from 7. This had Staten Island struggling.
By the 20th over they were 88 for 6 and then 126 all out (for 9 wickets in the end as one of their players was accidently hit by the ball in the back and had to walk off the field for some attention).
So, a hot, but winning day with some great batting, catching and bowling from AVCC – a great all-round performance. The highlights aside from the cricket were clearly the biryani, watching Glenn duck when the ball was hit in the trees for a six and fearing he was going to be hit on the head as the ball fell between the tree limbs, and watching the large container ships slip by almost silently, just within touching distance of the field, in proof that we were in fact on an island.
Thanks to Staten Island for being such gracious hosts!
Till next time, Pan.
Amwell Valley Cricket Club